The longest serving striker with an eye for goal Mfanukhona "Goroba" Ndabukelwayo sent his team flying into the final of the Mkhondo Promotion League Playoffs before scoring the second goal in the final against Kunene FC. Flying Stars Jnr FC won the final 2-0 against Kunene FC to become champions of Mkhondo for the second time at a packed Nohhemu Sports Ground, kwaNgema on Sunday 19 May 2019.
The final was watched by a fantastic crowd which behaved very well throughout the two day tournament. There were special fans supporting the runners up who sat on the south side of the ground next to the corner spot. They all belonged to Kunene FC not only as football fans but as one big happy family supporting other family members in the field, all using the same surname, Kunene.
The game got off with a high pace with both sides looking to get the opening goal. The first real chance of the match fell into to the path of Mdu Nkosi of Flying Stars Jnr but his shot went wide under the challenge of defender Philani ‘Coulibally’ Kunene who was solid in defence throughout the tournament. The ball played mostly in the middle of the park with both clubs playing safe. Flying Stars created better chances, the majority ending up as corner kicks or dealt with by the determined Kunene defenders. The big moment of the game came in the 25th minute of the first half when Flying Stars midfielder was brought down 10 yards from the eighteen area, on the left side of the field.
Sphamandla Dladla (18) curled the ball inside the net leaving keeper Khulekani Kunene (18) helplessly as the ball went inside with his body stretched to the limit. The scorer celebrated wildly with his teammates and almost received a yellow card for time wasting during the celebration. Flying Stars continued to attack and almost got a second goal when the tallest man on the field Siyanda Mbuli’s (18) attempt at goal from outside the box was beautifully saved by keeper Khulekani Kunene in the 35th minute. The game went into half time with Flying Stars having more chances leading 1-0.
The second half began with Kunene FC attacking, looking for an equaliser. They created chances but the Stars defence, marshalled by captain fantastic Siyabonga Nkambule (18) was tight and impenetrable at the back. Kunene FC did get a chance to equalise with a long range shot which was spectacularly saved by lanky keeper Bongumenzi Dlongolo 10 minutes after the 2nd half began. Five minutes later a header by Kunene captain Zwelibanzi Kunene went just over the bar. Kunene FC tried everything they had to get the equalizer but it was just not their day. Flying Stars Jnr contained them like seasoned professionals.
Flying Stars received a penalty towards the end of the game when attacker Kwazi Mtshali was brought down inside the box with 15 minutes left to play. Veteran striker Mfanikhona ‘Goroba’ Ndabukelwayo stepped up to score his team’s second goal to lead 2-0. The last 15 minutes of the game were dominated by the home side as they searched for a goal to come back into the match but Flying Stars defence stayed tight till the final whistle. The match finished 2-0 to the Saul Mkhizeville side Flying Stars Jnr FC.
They lifted the Mkhondo Promotion League championship trophy for the 2nd time. They also won the championship in the 2014/15 season and finished second in the Gert Sibande Promotional Playoffs gaining promotion to the SAB League in the process. They spent two seasons in the Gert Sibande SAB League before selling the status to Brazil FC of Lodzaba who got relegated last season.
The club received a trophy and gold medals for winning the Mkhondo Promotion League Championship 2018/19 season. Club top scorer Mfanikhona “Goroba” Ndabukelwayo received a trophy of appreciation from the Mkhondo LFA for being a good example to younger players. He scored three (3) goals in the tournament to help his side to win the championship.
The club from Saul Mkhizeville (situated about 45km from the Mkhondo CBD) will represent Mkhondo together with the runners up Kunene FC at the Gert Sibande Promotional League Playoffs on the 01 June 2019 in Ermelo. If they do well the two teams may find themselves playing at the SAB League at the beginning of next season.